Water saving tips

There are a number of simple and inexpensive things you can do to reduce the amount of water you consume at home.

A number of these actions will have an additional benefit of saving you energy at the same time.

Around the home

  • Check for leaking taps

Fixing a leaking tap is an easy way to use less water. One leaking tap can waste up to 2,000 litres a month.

  • Check for and repair any leaking pipes

Do this by turning off all taps for an hour and take your meter readings at the beginning and end of the hour. Any change in meter reading would indicate a leak. If you know you have a leak but can't find it, contact a plumber who specialises in concealed leak detection.

  • Install water efficient taps or retrofit older taps with flow-regulating aerators

Most taps typically discharge about 15 to 18 litres per minute, compared with low-flow and taps with aerators which can use as little as two litres per minute.

  • Check your hot water thermostat

Make sure your hot water system thermostat is set between 60- 650C. Regulations require hot water storage systems to maintain a temperature of over 600C which must be tempered down to 500C for supply at the tap. Hence setting the thermostat of your hot water storage any higher will result in wasted energy from heating the water and excessive use of cold water to meet the safe tap temperature.

  • Insulate exposed hot water pipes

Most heat is lost in the first 1.5 to 2m of plumbing from the hot water system. It brings down the temperature of water in the pipes very quickly requiring you to run the taps longer for the hot water to reach the tap. Insulating the pipe helps avoid wasting water while waiting for hot water to flow through - and it saves energy.

Bathrooms

  • Fix those leaky taps!

Replace washers as soon as taps begin to leak. A slow leaking tap can waste more than 20,000 litres a year.

A standard showerhead uses about 15 to 25 litres of water per minute while a WELS 3-star rated water efficient showerhead uses as little as six or seven litres per minute. Shower heads with a flow rate of nine litres per minute or less are widely available in local stores. By saving water you will also save energy by using a lot less hot water.

  • Upgrade your old toilet cisterns

Older toilet cisterns can use more than 12 litres of water with every use. Replacing them with efficient 4.5/3L dual flush cistern will considerably reduce water consumption.

  • Save when you shave

Rinse your razor in the sink instead of under a running tap.

  • Turn the tap off while you brush your teeth

Simply wet your toothbrush before you begin and use a glass of water to rinse your mouth. The savings over a year could be greater than you think.

  • Don't wait for the water to get hot before filling the tub for a bath

Put in the plug and adjust the water temperature as the tub fills.

  • Use rainwater

Why use potable (drinking) water to flush your toilet? A tank-to-toilet-flush pump system can use water from a rainwater tank, diverting to mains water only if necessary. Consult a plumber or tank retailer for advice.

Learn more about the rebates we offer for connecting rainwater tanks to internal connections, such as toilets or washing machines.

Kitchen

  • Wash wisely

Choose a dishwasher with a 5-star water efficiency rating for sparkling dishes and a lower water bill. Also, wait until you have a full load in your dishwasher and use the economy mode. This can save you water and energy.

  • Keep a bottle of water in the fridge so you don't have to run the tap until the water is cool.
  • Thaw food in the fridge or microwave instead of under running water.

Laundry

  • Use an efficient washing machine

Look for a front-loading washing machine with at least 4-and-a-half stars when you buy a new washing machine. Wait until you have a full load in your washing machine and use the economy mode. This can save you water and energy.

  • Opt for a front-loading washing machine

Front-loading washing machines use a lot less water than top loading machines. If you prefer a top-loading machine, purchase one with a load sensor.

  • Use rainwater to wash your clothes

Why use potable (drinking) water to wash your clothes? A tank-to-washing machine pump system can use water from a rainwater tank, diverting to mains water only when necessary. Consult a plumber or tank retailer for advice.

Learn more about the rebates we offer for connecting rainwater tanks to internal connections, such as toilets or washing machines.

Garden and pool

  • Install a rainwater tank

A rainwater tank can collect many thousands of litres of water each year and at least partially offset your mains water usage. The tank size you need will depend on the available space, the size of your roof, rainfall patterns in your area and of course your budget.

Learn more about the rebates we offer for installing rainwater tanks.

Explore use of greywater as a source of irrigation water all year round and to flush toilets 

Greywater treatment systems are available from many suppliers. NSW Health maintains a list of accredited suppliers.

  • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean off driveways, steps and sidewalks.
  • Water your garden wisely

Water your garden during the coolest part of the day, generally in the morning and evening, and avoid watering on windy days. Water the base of your plants, not the leaves. Don’t over-water your lawn – train it to use less water by encouraging the roots to grow deeper. Also, set your mower level higher during summer and let your lawn grow longer. Keeping grass longer shades the soil surface and reduces evaporation loss.

  • Cover your pool or spa when not in use

Keep pools and spas covered when not in use. Covers will help prevent significant amounts of water from evaporating – and also keep the heat in!

  • Wash your car on the lawn

You'll water and fertilise your lawn at the same time as many car shampoos use phosphates similar to fertilisers. At the same time you will be preventing these phosphates from washing down the stormwater to your local waterways where high phosphate levels can create a pH imbalance and encourage algal blooms. If you use a car wash, try to use one that recycles its water.

Make your garden more water-wise

Mulching reduces water loss and leaves and native plant species typically require a lot less water. You can request a visit from our Greenstyle garden advisor for tips on how to make your garden more water-efficient.